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China has closed 13 cities due to coronavirus, and snakes are called the possible cause of the epidemic

For several days now, the whole world has been closely watching the news about the new coronavirus from China. Just a few days ago, we informed you about the 2019-nCoV outbreak in Wuhan, but things are changing every day. New data on the number of infected not only in China, but also in other countries of the world come almost every hour. The World Health Organization (WHO) held a second emergency meeting during which it was decided not to declare a state of emergency due to an outbreak of coronavirus. Meanwhile, Chinese scientists conducted a study according to which snakes are the source of coronavirus. However, the work raised questions from a large number of scientists.

WHO experts decide not to declare a global emergency

What is happening in China and the world right now?

As he writes in his Twitter  account, WHO Director-General Dr. T. A. Gebreyesus, experts and scientists are serious about what is happening in China. On January 22 and 23, emergency meetings of the WHO took place during which the decision to declare an emergency was not made, since so far little is known about 2019-nCoV. Emergency is observed in China, but now we are not talking about a global threat. Previously, WHO specialists were sent to China to collaborate with Chinese scientists and collect additional information.

Meanwhile, the Chinese government quarantined the city of Wuhan, which is considered the epicenter of a coronavirus outbreak. At least 11 million people live in Wuhan, all flights to and from abroad are canceled, residents are forbidden to leave, public transport has stopped and panic has begun in the city, as frightened residents empty store shelves. Already in the evening of January 23, it became known about the second closed city of Huanggang, with a population of 7.5 million people. As Tailymail writes, stations in the third city of Echzhou are closed, and public transport is restricted in Xiantao and Chibi. The Chinese authorities also officially canceled the celebration of the New Year on the lunar calendar. Traditionally, during the New Year holidays, millions of Chinese citizens travel around the country and abroad to meet with relatives.

A traffic police officer measures the temperature of drivers in Wuhan (China)

On the morning of January 24, citing local media, Interfax reported the closure, in addition to Wuhan, of another 12 cities. So far, the exact list has not been disclosed.

Currently, the officially numbers show 25 dead and more than 800 infected. Infections were reported by authorities in Singapore, Japan, Vietnam, the United States, Saudi Arabia, Thailand and Macau. There are coronavirus suspected patients in some European countries. Professor Neil Ferguson, an expert in mathematical biology at Imperial College in London, told The sun reporters, that the mortality from a new strain of coronavirus is “about the same as during the Spanish flu epidemic in 1918,” and the maximum number of infected can reach 10 thousand people.

What exactly is known about the new coronavirus?

Doctors have confirmed that 2019-nCoV is much more contagious than previously thought, and can be transmitted by a third party with a simple cough or sneeze. Third-party transmission of the infection means that the virus has overcome the protective barrier and is no longer transmitted through animals. An airborne type of virus transmission, however, may not be the only one. During the second emergency meeting, WHO experts said that very little is known about the virus at the moment, including with regard to distribution methods. Concerns about the rapid mutation of 2019-nCoV have previously been expressed by Chinese officials, but there is currently no confirmation of this.

Can snakes be a source of coronavirus?

Scientists are trying to identify animals, which probably led to an epidemic. In a controversial study published on the evening of January 22 in a journal Journal of Medical Virology, a team of researchers from China claims that snakes became the cause of the outbreak of coronavirus. Scientists analyzed and compared the genetic sequences of 2019-nCoV and all other known coronaviruses. According to researchers, the accumulation of snakes in one place could be the most likely reservoir of wild animals for the new coronavirus. But many scientists are skeptical of this statement.

Researchers doubt that snakes are the source of coronavirus

As Nature writes, at the moment there is no evidence that such viruses can infect species other than mammals and birds. Science does not know a single case of infection of reptiles and snakes in particular by any subspecies of coronavirus.

What should be done so as not to get sick?

Precautions must be taken if you plan to travel abroad or have recently returned from China. In the official WHO Twitter account there are published cards with recommendations. So, during the flight you should not come into contact with people who have symptoms of acute respiratory viral infections, wash your hands often or use alcohol gel / antiseptic hand wipes, and try not to touch your face with your hands. In case you find yourself having a fever, cough and shortness of breath, experts recommend immediately seeking medical help and tell your doctors about the countries you have visited recently.

Coronavirus treatment

Meanwhile, Chinese doctors managed to develop an effective method of treating pneumonia, the source of which was a new coronavirus. We are talking about extracorporeal oxygenation, in simple words, the saturation of blood with oxygen. The patient was a 53-year-old resident of Hubei Province. On January 1, he felt unwell, turned to the doctors. His body temperature was at the mark of 39 degrees for several days, and conventional therapy did not give positive results. Since his lungs were severely affected by the virus, they were connected to an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation apparatus, after which the patient’s well-being improved. If the virus is not detected during repeated tests, the man will be discharged.

Researchers from around the world are closely watching what is happening and trying to learn as much as possible about new coronavirus. The Chinese authorities, in turn, are doing everything necessary to prevent the further spread of 2019-nCoV, so we keep monitoring the situation.

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Planet Earth

A bright fireball exploded over Armenia

Fireball over the sky of Armenia / Zohrap Yeganyan

Yesterday, a very bright fireball exploded over Armenia. This was announced by the head of the meteorological forecast department of the Hydrometeorological Center Gagik Surenyan on Facebook. The magnitude (brilliance) of a celestial body, which entered the Earth’s atmosphere with great speed, is at least 12.

Photo Source: Getty Image

On the evening of May 27, local residents saw a luminous ball flying from the sky, when it collided with the ground, an outbreak occurred.

Users of social networks began to share their guesses, but they officially gave a comment at the  Hydrometeorological Center  only the next day:

“Yesterday’s fall of a large meteorite in the Hrazdan  -Hankavan section  ,” Gagik Surenyan wrote, head of the meteorological forecast department of the Hydrometeorological Center and posted a video showing the meteorite.

Those who also saw the meteorite offered to go to the site of the fall of the celestial body and “collect the pieces”, others reproached the authorities and scientists for silence, when everyone discussed the event, no one began to confirm to people that the luminous ball was a meteorite.

“A meteorite is the final act of this nightmare year,” users of social networks wrote a comment on the video, with sad irony.

The camera was installed in the vicinity of Hrazdan and was directed towards the village of Hankavan.

“The meteorite, judging by the records studied, was very large and entered at great speed the atmosphere of the planet, where it burned at an altitude of several kilometers. The risk that parts of this fireball could reach Earth is small, and the likelihood that they can be somehow found tends to zero, including the woodland and the fact that, when burned, meteors and fireballs crumble, as a rule, for particles up to several millimeters in size,” astrophysicist R. Martirosyan said.

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Planet Earth

Powerful sprites over Kansas were visible to the naked eye

Have you ever seen sprites? They say that this is impossible. Strange and fleeting forms of Red Lightning materialize over thunderclouds, usually disappearing in less time than it takes to blink. However, storm hunter Michael Havan had no problems seeing them on May 23rd.

“The extremely bright jellyfish sprites were easily visible to the naked eye at dusk!” Says Gavin. “This is one of the brightest shots I’ve captured with my modified Canon T3i.”

Gavin saw this sight from Northwest Kansas. “Clear skies provided fantastic views of the MCS (mesoscale convective system) moving through Nebraska almost 100 miles from us,” he says. “I was not the only one who saw them.” There have been reports that people also saw sprites from Interstate 70. “

The storm lasted so long that Gavin managed to attach an 85mm lens to his camera for several close-up shots. “Because I had an image of the same area without a sprite from a few seconds earlier, I was able to subtract the sky (stars, air glow, etc.) to take a photo of the structure of the sprite without any distractions.

A solar minimum can stimulate sprites. During the low phase of the solar cycle — now occurring — cosmic rays from deep space penetrate the inner solar system relatively unhindered due to the weakening of the Sun’s magnetic field. 

Some models claim that cosmic rays help sprites get started by creating conductive paths in the atmosphere.

By the way:

Today, May 25, 2020, the level of cosmic rays crashing onto the Earth, reached its maximum levels, increasing today by 10.4% of average values.

Cosmic rays 

The magnetic field of the sun is weak, which allows additional cosmic rays to penetrate the solar system. Neutron counts from the Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory of the University of Oulu show that cosmic rays reaching Earth in 2020 are close to the peak of the space age.

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Planet Earth

A surge in volcanic activity threatens the Earth with a new Ice Age

Over the past few days, we have witnessed a turbulent global volcanic surge in activity. He sends us all signs that the Great Solar Minimum is approaching.

The Japanese meteorological satellite HIMAWARI-8 recorded two powerful eruptions on May 16, both of which occurred in Indonesia.

The first took place in IBU – a relatively new volcano with only 3 noticeable eruptions; in 1911, 1998 and 2008 – and was confirmed by Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), which warned that the ash plume rises to about 13.7 km.

The second high-level eruption occurred just a few hours later on Semera – a very active volcano with an eruptive history; the first happened in 1818, the most recent in 2014.

As with IBU, the Semeru eruption was confirmed by both HIMAWARI-8 and VAAC Darwin, the latter confirming the generation of a “dark ash plume that reached a height of 14 km.

In addition, active lava flows remain active on the southeastern flank of Semeru, currently about 1.5 km long (as of the morning of May 18).

Direct cooling effect

These high-level eruptions are notable for the fact that solid particles are thrown to a height of over 10 km – and into the stratosphere – are often delayed, where they have a direct cooling effect on the planet.

Volcanic eruptions are one of the key factors pushing the Earth toward its next round of global cooling, with their worldwide surge associated with low solar activity, coronal holes, a diminishing magnetosphere and the influx of cosmic rays penetrating silica-rich magma.

In addition to Indonesia, Icelandic volcanoes have intensified, and it is this high-mountain volcanic region of the world that is believed to be home to the next “big eruption” – one that will plunge the whole world into the new Ice Age almost instantly.

Katla is such a volcano here and it shows signs of activity, since a significant gas output has been recorded over the past few days. 

In addition, seismic activity under a large ice volcano has also increased, and this activity is probably caused by injections of new magma entering the chamber.

Icelandic authorities are aware of the danger posed by the next Katla eruption, and a delegation of volcanologists regularly meets with the Icelandic parliament to discuss how to respond in the event of an eruption, the likelihood of which is simply a matter of when, not if.

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